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View Full Version : Parents & Kids: Who "owes" whom?



kjandb
04-24-2015, 01:57 PM
I edited this because it appeared in a different thread with a lengthy situation. I don't want feedback on the situation, but I honestly want others' opinions of what is "owed" and/or "expected" in parent/child relationships, both when kids are young and as they grow into adults with their own families and lives.

Note: This isn't about WANTING to help our parents as we grow older. I think, especially with the way we're schooling our own children, compassion and character are important parts of being a good human being. I don't care how nasty ANYONE has ever been, I would never let anyone suffer - that's just me. This is asking more about the general outlook on the parent/child dynamic.

CrazyMom
04-25-2015, 02:41 PM
You know...I get it....that when there has been abuse, neglect, addiction, mental illness....sometimes the injuries are too deep. Sometimes you just need to separate yourself from that kind of emotional violence......to keep yourself sane and protect your kids from it.

But.. that said....

If you've got just a typically dysfunctional family, where people get a little sensitive and bicker and expect a certain type of behavior from each other and get stubborn about it........that stuff is just par for the course. That's just growing pains of people getting older and making their own decisions and having less in common than they used to. It's pretty normal, really. It's not worth cutting ties over.

Do I feel like I owe my mom? God, yes! She cleaned my puke when I had the flu, FFS. She did my laundry and walked me to the bus stop, and packed me a lunch, and put up with countless sleepovers and birthday parties and a million other things that she did.....just because my happiness mattered to her. She did without an awful lot...so we could have the things we needed or thought we needed. She was kind and she cared...and she encouraged us. She was really proud of us, and always had our backs.

We didn't have anything when I was a kid...we were always dead broke....but we still had a great childhood. She made a bag full of Manwich sandwiches and took us on picnics and let us fly paper airplanes in the arboretum, she took us wading in the creek at the forest, and provided a million other adventures that cost nothing except planning and creativity and motivation. She hit garage sales all year long to find incredibly cool toys and things we wanted and couldn't afford.

She took us to the library every week....all summer long. She took us to the bookstore for bags full of used comic books. She took us to the beach, and the woods. She was the type of crazy-arsed woman who would roll pennies for an hour from the giant penny jar....to buy ice cream when we were dead broke. She always found a way to make life fun and wonderful.

And as an adult? She helped with Elle as much as I'd let her. She'd rearrange her schedule so she could watch Elle while I was working. (My in-laws pitched in, too...we were really lucky...we never had a sitter outside of family)

She'd have a group sleepover at her house nearly every week...so the adults could have a date night. She'd take Elle AND her two cousins...who were my hubby's sister's. She usually had seven kids overnight...and they loved it. Everyone....including my mom and dad...slept in the livingroom in sleeping bags. And she always had a huge breakfast Saturday morning so we could all have breakfast together picking up our kids. She always planned stuff for the kids, made it fun, did projects with them, told stories in the dark, played dress up with them, played hide and seek. She was amazing.

My dad was a good guy. Distant, but kind. In his 70's, one of his doctors suggested he had Asperger's...which I believe (though it had never been diagnosed before). He was never a warm involved father....but he was reliable and he was proud of us. He loved inventing things. Think absent minded professor. He loved to be by himself...which was tough as a kid. (was hard on his marriage, too, though my parents were together 42 years) Dad's idea of parenting, was teaching you skills. This is how to chop wood. This is how to snake a drain. This is how to build a fire. This is how to do long division. This is how to install a toilet. This is how to change your oil. Very skills based guy. Loved to teach Ellen things, too.

Dad got cancer when I was 6.....went through chemotherapy and beat it three time before I was 20....all the while working as an assembly line auto worker. Not only did he commute to work 50 miles every day, he did grueling physical labor...WHILE going through chemotherapy. He'd wake up, have chemo, come home and puke his guts out, drive fifty miles, work second shift plus overtime....drive home and do it all over again.

As an adult, my dad STILL loved to teach me to do things. LOL He taught me to do a brake job on my car. He taught me to change faucets, roof a house, do simple electric wiring. He wasn't the cuddly type, but he always cared that I was safe and had what I needed to function. Also, we both loved working with dogs. He enjoyed talking about finances and investments and was always calling me with some crazy tip.

Dad kept us afloat. Took superhuman strength to do that....and yep...I feel I owe him for that. Taking care of mom...is payment to dad. Her welfare was always his biggest concern.

I know you probably weren't asking for platitudes and stories about parents here.....

But I wanted to explain WHY I feel I owe my folks. I'd do about anything for them. They sure as hell did enough for me.

IEF
04-25-2015, 04:23 PM
As an older parent and the only surviving child of divorced octogenarians, my extreme generalization rule of thumb is that my minor child's needs come before my parents'.

Of course if my kid wanted a new iPad and one of my parents wanted to eat or not become homeless, the kid would have to deal.

My adult children are a mixed bag as far as contact and loyalty; if I live long enough to require care and one of them makes time or financial sacrifices, I would hope that the others would compensate him/her in some way, but it usually doesn't play itself out that way.

My best friend moved across the country and gave up her career and ultimately her marriage to care for her mother, but her siblings don't even send her a check to help out with the groceries. I think the mother is well within her rights to leave her house to my friend and memorabilia to her other children.

CrazyMom
04-25-2015, 04:28 PM
Here's a litmus test.

If you have the kind of relationship where you can ask your folks to watch your kids, or lend you money, go on a college visit, cosign on a loan, or help you do a home/car repair....you probably owe them.

If, from the time of your 18th birthday, you've never asked your folks for a thing, not even their time to help you do something.....you probably don't.

Meh...that's my take, anyway.

"what is "owed" and/or "expected" in parent/child relationships, both when kids are young and as they grow into adults with their own families and lives."

When kids are young.....you take care of each other.

When kids are adults and have their own families and lives.....you still take care of each other.

I'm sure this varies family to family....and sometime for good reason. But yeah...for my family, it's expected that parents help kids and kids help parents. Whoever needs help, gets it.

TFZ
04-25-2015, 05:38 PM
Are we reatarting this conversation? Why? Many people shared what they feel is owed to their parents or owed to them from their children. If we are not commenting with our views from our personal experiences, then what's the point?

I already commented on the cultural implications of independence and owing in lieu of your own pursuit of hapiness. Many others commented on the values seen in their own familial cultures. I'm not sure what you're looking for here, but I don't think we owe another set of answers because you didn't like the first ones.

kjandb
04-25-2015, 05:44 PM
Are we reatarting this conversation? Why? Many people shared what they feel is owed to their parents or owed to them from their children. If we are not commenting with our views from our personal experiences, then what's the point?

I already commented on the cultural implications of independence and owing in lieu of your own pursuit of hapiness. Many others commented on the values seen in their own familial cultures. I'm not sure what you're looking for here, but I don't think we owe another set of answers because you didn't like the first ones.

TFZ, extremely sorry to upset you, but the site initially posted this under the "Homeschooling Issues" site and now it has reappeared under the "Surveys & Polls" tab. I attempted to delete, but couldn't find that option. I'm not asking for any extra answers and please don't assume that you owe me anything. I have no opinion on yours or anyone's answers, merely taking a general survey to see what the opinions are on this issue. If you have nothing else to comment on, please feel free to ignore the post and move on. I apologize this post took up your time by appearing in 2 different threads.

TFZ
04-25-2015, 05:50 PM
http://www.secularhomeschool.com/homeschooling-issues/16153-parents-kids-who-owes-whom.html
This is the link to the original conversation.

You couldn't upset me. Just seems redundant to begin again with the same question.

kjandb
04-25-2015, 05:52 PM
I agree, which is why I didn't want it to appear in both places. This is why I edited the original post in the surveys and polls tab.

CrazyMom
04-25-2015, 08:30 PM
Jaysus...what's the harm? :wasntme:

Jeni
04-25-2015, 11:25 PM
You know I was thinking about this more after I responded to the other thread. Like I said over there, dad's aren't an issue and dh's mom is his business.

But with my mom, I already went above and beyond as a teen and young adult. I was there for her when no one else was. I was there to help raise my sister and I helped them start a better life before I went on and started my own. I missed school to babysit, I went to the women's shelter with her when she left the ex, I was the chaperon for my sister's visitations. I worked to pay the bills and help support my sister.

I didn't have to do that and many teens wouldn't have done it without complaint. Not only did I support her during a difficult time, because of it I was on my own at 18. I had no place to live, no job, my family now lived across the country. Thankfully dh was there and was the person I leaned on and thankfully we were able to start our lives then.

So no, I don't feel like I owe my mom/parents anything. I don't begrudge that time, it made me who I am today. But I do think I stepped up when it was necessary and fulfilled my daughterly duties. It's on her spouse to take care of her now.